Friday, December 29, 2006

At 6 AM local time for Baghdad Iraq, Saddam Hussein was hanged. Pardon me if I don’t share in the joy of some. Instead I’m rather angry. I’ll explain why.

First and foremost I’m unwavering in my opposition to the death penalty. It’s not justice and has no place in any civilization that wants to pretend it’s civilized. If the act of killing another human being isn’t dastardly enough, Saddam was hanged. Hanging is a brutal and horrible method full of snapped neck and crushed windpipes. Yet it was still used to execute Saddam. Also hanging in Iraq is reserved for lowly criminals. The method of execution was an insult to a fatal injury.

Piling on insults is horrific idea. As this December has already been one of the deadliest months for US troops since we entered this unholy crusade of the neo-conservatives over three years ago. So let’s kill Saddam Hussein with a brutal and humiliating method and throw more fuel on the out of control fire that is burning in Iraq. The civil war between the Sunni and the Shiites continues to worsen and the insurgency refuses to yield or weaken. Let’s just give them another reason to hate the United States.

Let’s not forget some little details here. Saddam Hussein was found guilty of one crime, even though he was accused of many others. Why was he not tried for all his crimes? Why wasn’t he treated like Slobodan Milosevic and sent to The Hague to face an international court? Why in God’s name was he put in front of some Iraqi kangaroo court? Did someone need him out of the way? Was someone in a hurry to see him dead? I’m not sure we’ll ever get good answers to these questions but they need to be asked.

Of course when it comes to international law the Bush administration has a shameful record. Remember when Alberto Gonzales said the Geneva Convention was “quaint’?

Of course those who support the execution of Saddam Hussein have countered with arguments like “he deserved to die” and “one trial is enough” and have even accused me of sympathizing or empathizing with Saddam Hussein. Here are some counters to all of these.

If a person is accused of multiple crimes then that person should be tried for them all. That’s justice. The accused must face trial for the crimes they are said to have committed. To not put the accused on trial for all their crimes is no better than a kangaroo court. If they were worried about security send him to The Hague. Let him stand trial for that which he is accused don’t just pick the crimes which are easy to convict him because that’s not justice and justice is what all courts must do.

Killing Saddam is an awful idea. Not only will it probably escalate violence in an already violent country it is not fitting punishment. Wouldn’t it be more punishing for Saddam Hussein, a megalomaniac, to sit in a lonely maximum-security prison cell with no power than to make him a martyr?

I do not empathize or sympathize with Saddam Hussein. Hussein was an evil man who had no business leading a nation. But my opposition to his hanging stems from both my opposition to the death penalty and my passion for justice to be served.

Since Saddam Hussein is dead I have a small favor to ask. Can we please get US troops out of Iraq? I’ll even let George put his flight suit on and land on the aircraft carrier and talk about “Mission Accomplished” if he’d like that. I’ll even let them spend the twenty million in the federal budget for a victory celebration. Just bring the troops home now before it gets worse. We are closing in on 3000 dead American men and women. God only knows how many Iraqis have been killed. It’s time to end this horrible blood soaked fiasco and bring get the troops out of the violent quagmire of Iraq. It has to end before The United State’s has lost all her dignity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Today the total number of US soldiers killed in combat in Iraq exceeded the total number that died in the terrorists attack on September 11th 2001. Is the mission accomplished? Is the insurgency in its last throes now? Is the army we have, not necessarily the army we might like mind you, on the verge of a sweeping victory? Will the twenty million dollars in the federal budget for a victory celebration finally get to be spent? Of course the answer to all these questions is a resounding no.

George Bush’s fiasco in Iraq has killed or wounded over 25,000 American soldiers. It has cost at least 350 billion dollars. It has killed somewhere and between 40,000 to 665,000 Iraqis. What do we have to show for it? Is Al Qaeda dead and gone? No. Is Osama Bin Laden in jail somewhere? No. Well we do have Saddam Hussein awaiting execution by hanging but since he had less than zero to do with 9/11 his removal from power and execution isn’t a big win in the war on terror. We have in Iraq that is in the middle of a brutal civil war. We have set our troops up to be target practice for every radical in the region.

This war is going nowhere but straight to Hell. We have to demand that it ends soon. There is no hope of victory or winning or saving face. We need to exit and let the Iraqis settle their own differences. Of course with Saddam to be hanged maybe within a month or so the violence is sure to escalate. There are still people in Iraq loyal to the despot and they will riot in response to his death. The execution was at one point scheduled in a soccer stadium. Officials were smart enough to realize that security would prove difficult. So they moved it to a prison on a US base. Which is sure to just fan the flames. Now there is a chance that it might be televised, like how we allowed his Saddam’s sons corpses to be paraded through the streets to prove they were dead. So maybe they’ll put it on TV over here and all the vultures can tune in and stare and laugh.

As we speak George W Bush is in Crawford TX considering his next move in Iraq. He has already mentioned increasing troop numbers. There is a carrier group in route to the Persian Gulf to try and intimidate Iran. Wait? Is that a typo? Iran? No friends we’re saber rattling at Iran to. Apparently messing up in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t enough for this President. He wants to screw up in a third country. What George needs to do is walk in the bathroom, look into the mirror and call himself a moron. It’s over George. Pick your toys up and go home. Let’s bring our troops home and end this awful fiasco.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

OK since the 2008 Presidential election now starts in nanosecond the 2006 mid-term elections wrap up, I thought I would throw my two cents out there.

Now granted Tom Vilsack and Dennis Kucinich have both announced they will run, but honestly they’re both long shots at best. Though I will enthusiastically support Kucinich until the bitter end. Kucinich is one of the few politicians that stand with me on the vast majority of the issues. So I’m a Kucinich man.

But let’s talk about the big name possible candidates. None of whom I’m horribly excited about.

Barrack Obama is the media’s darling. Sure he’s articulate handsome and charismatic. But I can’t get all that excited about him. In his two years in the Senate he hasn’t exactly taken the lead on much of anything. Of course if I listened to some in the media I would think Obama is the second coming of MLK and JFK all rolled into one. I think Obama is a good guy who maybe someday may make a good president I just don’t think it will be in 2008.

Some consider Hillary Clinton a lock, but I have my doubts. One strike against her is she will forever be in the shadow of her husband and Democrat poster boy, Bill Clinton. The second is she has always seemed to me to be more of a politician than someone who really took stances on issues. She always seems a bit too eager to play the middle. The third is the perception of Hillary as aloof. People do not warm up to Hillary the same way they did to Bill. Three strikes she’s out.

I used to like John McCain. Hell I supported him in 2000. That’s no lie. But John McCain has changed. He’s started moving towards the far right of the Republican Party. He’s started cozying up to the fear mongering religious right. I can’t say that I feel the same about McCain in 2006 as I did in 2000. Plus I’m not sure Republicans are all that in love with him.

Rudy Giuliani is a big time front-runner. I wouldn’t elect him dogcatcher. Sure he was popular after 9/11 and all. But remember before 9/11 he had lots of controversy surrounding him concerning his wife and lover and all that nonsense. Also there is no way in Hell will a pro-gay and pro-choice Republican makes it out of the primaries.

I have one more thing to bitch about before I put this puppy to bed. I have sneaking suspicion that religion will play a huge role in 2008. I have a hunch we will see lots of campaign ads with candidates touting their faith. If this occurs you may also get to witness me beating my TV to death. I would advise these candidates to be not like the hypocrites who pray in public but prove your faith by your deeds.

Anyway I’m not looking forward to the next two years. I’ll get to support Kucinich and that’s a good thing. But the people looking like they will make a serious run in 2008 are not doing much to get my hopes up.

Friday, December 01, 2006

In the last week the amount of time spent by the United States Armed Forces in Iraq has exceeded the amount of time it took us to win World War II. Granted we had much sterner allies in WWII than we do now. But still the threat of European fascism and Japanese imperialism was put down in less time than it has taken us to overthrow the despotic leader of a crippled nation and establish a stable government there. Of course our leadership during WWII and its aftermath was some of the finest we’ve ever been lucky enough to have, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, McArthur and Patton. Now we have a leader, George W Bush, that can’t even ride a bike without falling off.

This leader hasn’t even allowed himself to say that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. He prefers the term, sectarian violence. Politicians, when they’re up to their butt cheeks in trouble, don’t like to use real honest language. They seem to think it helps gloss over the situation. Civil war would paint a fairly vivid picture of the situation in Iraq. Sectarian violence just makes people run to the dictionary to define sectarian. Of course if you think about it sectarian violence basically translates to civil war. If you have warring sects in a country both vying for control, then you got a civil war. It also bears noting that some people don’t think it’s a civil war either, they think it’s ethnic cleansing. Of course if they used honest language they’d call it what it is genocide. I hope it’s not. Civil war as awful and unspeakable as it is pales in comparison to the horror of genocide.

Getting back to our leader’s refusal to use the term civil war. It reminds me of a similar behavior and given our leaders past it has some relevance. If you have been in the company of heavy drinkers, those people that drink until their body shuts off the means of consumption, you’ve seen this behavior. Back in the days when George used to visit New Orleans to enjoy many a fine libation I’m willing to bet he was a belligerent drunk. You’ve seen the belligerent drunk. The guy or gal who sits there barely able to speak or stand and claims to hardly be drunk at all. They can drive home. They’re just fine. No matter how much the people around them tell them not to drive or that they’re hopelessly drunk they refuse to listen. A few friends near and dear or maybe even a little afraid of retribution if they don’t condone the behavior go along with the drunk’s little game. But these people are small in number and are greatly outweighed by the number of people who don’t want the drunk behind the wheel or to even try to walk home for that matter. The drunk just doesn’t want to listen though.

Our dear and belligerent leader has been behaving like this lately. No matter how many people call it a civil war or want our troops home he doesn’t listen. Sure his administration in an echo chamber for his faulty ideas but the voices against them is growing louder every day. He still talks of completing the mission. Never mind that big Mission Accomplished banner he spoke in front of over three years ago. Never mind that the mission has changed and shifted over the course of this war. The president refuses to yield. Never mind he won’t admit that this war was based on bad intelligence. The president needs to sober up and face the reality of the situation not what he would like it to be. If he does not come to terms with the worsening situation in Iraq and take the appropriate steps that are best for the United States, the Middle East and especially Iraq itself, then his legacy will be that of a president too stubborn or incompetent to do what is right or even logical. This president needs to sober up and face the reality of Iraq and not stagger around in the belligerent drunken haze of denial.